Pentagon spokesman John Kirby speaks during a media briefing at the Pentagon, Friday, June 4, 2021, in Washington. In a joint statement in April, Russian and Chinese envoys pledged that their nations would continue to strengthen their relationship “no matter how the international situation changes.”American hypocrisy was on display on Tuesday in the White House briefing room when John Kirby, the communications coordinator for the National Security Council, was variously asked about Chinese and Indian imports of Russian petroleum.First, a reporter asked Kirby about a recent report by China’s customs administration revealing the country has imported a record amount of crude oil from the Russian Federation in 2022 and what the administration’s “message” about that fact is to Beijing.
“I think this is just a piece of China’s willingness to continue to go along with Russia,” Kirby said. “And we’re seeing this as yet another example of a growing collaboration between China and Russia with respect to Ukraine.”“And we have, as we’ve said at the outset, called on China to be a responsible power here and to join the rest of the world in condemning what Russia has done in Ukraine and in enforcing sanctions against Russia for it. So, it’s just another example,” he added.Since Russia launched its special operation in Ukraine in February 2022, the US has sought an excuse to apply to China the same kind of punishing sanctions it did to Russia in response to the operation. Despite the two nations’ close friendship, China has tacked a careful course of neutrality on the issue, promoting a peaceful solution in Ukraine but refusing to abide by the Western-directed campaign to exclude Russia from the global community.India has done much the same, dramatically increasing its purchases of Russian oil and abstaining from United Nations votes about Russia. However, New Delhi is key to Washington’s plans to encircle “malign actor” China, and Kirby’s answer to a similar question moments later revealed that double standard.“Look, India is also a very key strategic partner in the Indo-Pacific region. And there’s many ways that that partnership represents itself both in defense and security, economic as well,” Kirby told reporters on Tuesday.“I think we’ll let Indian leaders speak to their economic policies. What I can just tell you is we value this bilateral relationship with India and we continue to want – obviously, every country has to make their decisions for themselves. These are sovereign decisions. But we want as much pressure put internationally on Russia as possible,” he added.